This deer season has been great. A lot of hunters are taking some beautiful bucks. Well not all of us, but that’s a different story. All fall, my friends have shown me the bucks they've captured on their trail cameras, and some of them have made it to the freezer.
I know that many of you in Delaware County were not happy with the three-point antler restriction, but now you are seeing that it works. I was talking to a fellow the other day who lives on Long Island but owns property off of Walton's East Brook.
"This is the first time in 20 years that I've seen any decent bucks around," he said. "I was skeptical of having the antler restrictions, but it actually works. It's going to be just like old times."
Yes, it works and more of the state should be under the same program.
New York always has bragged about the number of deer harvested each year instead of the quality of the deer. It's not because of the biologists and game managers, though. It's because politicians only think of the almighty dollar and insurance companies lobby to have more deer taken to reduce car/deer collisions.
Another of my pet peeves is the doe permit system. I was talking with a farmer the other day about deer. He has told me over the years that when he spreads manure at night, there are 30 or 40 sets of eyes in his meadows eating his crops.
Finally, he asked the Department of Environmental Conservation for nuisance permits. I think he got 11 last year. But he laughed and said: "My brother-in-law bought his license the other day, paid $10 for a doe permit and got a preference point. He didn't get a permit."
Well, if you buy the Super Sportsman license, it really doesn't make a difference. With the gun, the bow and the muzzleloader, you can pretty well fill your freezer. Don't get me wrong. I love venison, but I don't want it every meal. There was a time many years ago when I taught school in the Adirondacks and made $6,000 a year that we ate a lot of venison. I could even make those old Adirondack bucks taste good.
My mother never would eat venison. I don't know why. Maybe it was the way it was fixed. When she came north for a visit, she'd ask my dad on the way home, "Do you think that was venison we ate for dinner?" It probably was.
Anyway, I'm getting off track. I really think that the DEC is doing a great job with its hands tied behind its back. To government officials, it's still all about the money. My licenses this year cost about $80. If they hadn't changed the law a couple of years ago, I could have had a senior lifetime license for $50. Now I have to wait until I'm 70 and pay $150.
A friend of mine moved to Texas this year. He went in to buy his license after living in the state for 30 days. For about $30, he walked out with more permits than he could possibly fill — four or five whitetails, an equal number of mule deer (three of each have to be does), a half-dozen turkeys, small game, fishing (both inland and out to sea), and a few more assorted things.
I guess when a state such as Texas does everything to attract business rather than drive it away, it can afford to do something for its residents.
Rick Brockway writes a weekly outdoors column for The Daily Star. Email him at email@example.com.